Oct. 8 - Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh says he will step down ''in the coming days'' a day after a prominent opponent wins the Nobel Peace Prize. Deborah Lutterbeck reports.
After nine months of protests against his 33 years in power, Yemen's President Ali Abdullah Saleh is saying he plans to leave power in the coming days. SOUNDBITE: Yemen's President Ali Abdullah Saleh, saying: (Arabic): "Why do you loot (military buildings) which have 2,000 weapons, this is theft. Why do you loot the shops of gold in Hayil street. Is this your future project for this country? Is destruction your motto? It's not because I crave power, I reject power and I will leave it in the coming days and leave it behind, but there are men who will hold power, there are men who have been honest to God, civilian or military, and they will take control of the country." Saleh has been clinging to his position while his opposition is seeking a formula for a transition-of-power deal. Protests against Saleh's rule have paralyzed Yemen, weakening government control over swathes of the country and fanning fears al Qaeda's regional wing may use the upheaval to expand its foothold near shipping routes through the Red Sea. Analysts are skeptical ---Saleh has backed out of signing a Gulf-mediated power transition deal three times. Saleh has made many verbal concessions during the protests against him which began in January, including promising to step down in return for immunity from prosecution. The announcement comes only a day after a prominent opposition activist Tawakkul Karman won the country's first ever Nobel prize. She was recognized with the peace award, after becoming a leading human rights and pro-democracy activist despite being a citizen of the country which tops the gender inequality index. Deborah Lutterbeck, Reuters